Letter to the editor: All students deserve the best so they can be the best workforce one day


After reading The Sumter Item article titled, "Board votes 6-3 for new Mayewood athletic building," dated Feb. 14, 2024, my faith in the Sumter School District Board of Trustees is highly restored.

On Feb. 12, 2024, I addressed the SSD Board of Trustees. Below is my statement to them.

I am Councilman Eugene Baten, Sumter County Council, District 7. R.E. Davis College Preparatory Academy is located in the district I represent.

Tonight, I want to share the positive impact early public-school education had on the successful accomplishments in my life. Although I attended racially segregated schools the 1940's and 50's in Washington, D.C., the quality of education I received was highly adequate.

During my military career (1960-1987) in the United States Air Force, I was quickly promoted to chief master sergeant. A rank that is only achieved by one percent of the enlisted force. I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminology and graduated, with top honors, with a Master's Degree in Human Resource Management. I am a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society.

In 1995, I became the first Black executive director of the Sumter Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. I directed the certification process in the commission becoming a National Accredited Rehabilitation Facility and one of the best in South Carolina. This commission is now Sumter Behavioral Health Services.

I share this information to acknowledge the fact that I could not have accomplished what I did without a highly adequate education in the early years of my life. "As the twig is bent, the tree inclines."

The students (children) in R.E. Davis CPA have been receiving an "unsatisfactory" education since its creation. This is below "minimally adequate," the underwhelming legal standard for public schools set in 1999 by the state's highest court.

At this influential decisive moment, you have the opportunity to start restoring the confidence of parents that you care about the overall education, morale and physical well being of their children, your students.

Create a football and track facility that will serve as a model for all future facilities.

Demonstrate to the community that all students deserve the best so they will become the best workforce for future economic development.

"The ball is on your field."


Sumter County Council District 7